Sunday, September 14, 2014

SamadhiRaja Sutra

Samadhi Raja Sutra

Know all things to be like this:

A mirage, a cloud castle,

A dream, an apparition,

Without essence, but with qualities that can be seen.

Know all things to be like this:

As the moon in a bright sky

In some clear lake reflected,

Though to that lake the moon has never moved.

Know all things to be like this:

As an echo that derives

From music, sounds, and weeping,

Yet in that echo is no melody.

Know all things to be like this:

As a magician makes illusions

Of horses, oxen, carts and other things,

Nothing is as it appears.

The Buddha

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Celebrating Simon and Garfunkel

Kathy's Song
One of the most beautiful love songs in the world......a song for Kathy...originally possibly an

old English folk song tune...amazing and profoundly beautiful lyrics which follow the video..

Kathy's Song

by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

I hear the drizzle of the rain

Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.

My mind's distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you're asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

And a song I was writing is left undone
I don't know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can't believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Full Moon of Visakha: Story of Sumedha.

[ Introduction: Today is the Visakha Full Moon in the month of May ruled by the Zodiac sign of the
Taurus and its ruling planet the beautiful and gracious Venus. Buddhist legend has that
the historical Buddha Tathagata Gautama was born, enlightened and also died on this full moon
night. Buddhism has that the historical Buddha is only one in the lineage of infinite number of Buddhas both past present and the future including both the Buddhas who actualized as human
beings and those that are transcendental Dhyani Buddha's who symbolize the five basic wisdom
and qualities of the universal mind signified by the five colours red,yellow, green, blue and white
and the five directions of North, South, East, West and Centre named the Buddha Amitabha (red), Ratnasambhava ( yellow), Amoghasiddhi ( green), Aksobhya ( blue) and Vairocana (white) each being the genesis of a lineage of actualized Buddhas.
LinkLink ]

Amongst the Buddhas who have actualized in the world of Samsara or relative existence, there was one who belonged to the BuddhaVamsa or the Buddha family, called Dipankara or the giver of light. He was the Buddha of the past many aeons ago. In the time of the Buddha Dipankara there was a city of Amara, a city of plenty, propserity, enjoyment, peace and harmony.It was a city blessed by the gods abounding with
good will wisdom and holiness. In this city of Amara lived the young man called Sumedha. A learned person from the priestly section of society, intelligent wise,accomplished and prosperous with bountiful assets in grain and coin. Sumedha had learnt all the ways and duties of the priestly class, conversant with the Vedas and all the holy texts. Yet his mind was not at rest as he thought of the phenomenal world and of the decay, death and regeneration of all phenomena in the endless cycle of Samsara, the relative existence of impermanence and change. Sumedha was struck by the repetitive nature and the cycle of suffering and pain inherent in Samsara. He sought a way for repreive from this meaningless circle of impermanence and change.A way symbolized by the freedom from the fetters and bonds of the cycle of Samsara.The path of absolute realization of the self called Nirvana through enlightenment to be a Buddha.

Sumedha realized through his contemplation the nature of all desires and acquisitions and how they were a burden on the path towards realization. He discarded all his wealth and prosperity to become an ascetic a Sraman in the far away location of Himavant in the hills of Dhammakka. There he stayed wearing a cloth of the bark of a tree eating wild fruits and sleeping beneath the trees spending his time in meditation and contemplation till he understood the universal law and recognized the path towards enlightenment. One day when he passed through the plains he saw in

a city that a great preparation was being made for some event and the joy of the people being invloved in the celebrations. Upon enquiry he learnt that the great Buddha Dipankara majetsic in his enlightenment and the realization of the self was to pass through the city. The preparation was
in the honour of this enlightened being. So Sumedha
thought that this was a great opportunity to see for himself someone who had broken through the ignorance and illusion of all relative existence of Maya and the Samsara. When Dipankara was passing there was a strech of the road still muddy with rain waters which could not be cleaned in time for his passing. Sumedha in reverence for the perfect being Dipankara refused to allow the gross mud to touch the feet of the holy being. He opened his long hair of an ascetic and laid it on the path inviting Dipankara and his disciples to cross over his body and his hair so that the mud may not touch their feet.

Dipankara with his perfect insight recognized the mind of Sumedha to be that of a Bodhisattva a being on the way towards enlightenment. Then the great Buddha of the past, the giver of light Dipankara prophesized that many years from now and after many births and lives the young Sumedha would in his last life time be born as the Siddhartha Gautama to the glorious King Suddhadhona and the beautiful Queen Maya of the Sakya tribe on a glorious Full moon night of the month of Visakha in the majestic Sal groves of the Lumbini forest. And this Prince Gautama would be the Buddha Tathagata and completely realize the self to attain liberation from Samsara in Nirvana. Further he said that this Buddha would show the path of love peace and righteous wisdom to the entire humanity. His closest disciples would be Kotila and Upassita and his closest friend will be called Ananda. Thus prophesizing the Buddha Diapnkara went on his way.

And so it happened one glorious full moon night of the month of Visakha many aeons later and many lifetimes later the young man Sumedha was reborn as the Prince Siddhartha Gautama to the Sakya king of Kapliavastu, Suddhodhona and his Queen Maya in the Sal forests of the Lumbini and thus the Buddha of the present the great Tathagata was born to show humanity the path to peace and enlightenment, the path to realization of the true reality and freedom from all bonds of desire and longing, the path to Nirvana of perfect existence.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Song of the Journey ( Invited Contributions from Friends)

(Photograph Courtesy and Copyright

The Song of the Journey

- Sutanu Bhattacharya.

What is the meaning of life

If it all just ends in death

What is meaning of life

That ends in a finite breath

It’s the journey that gives it meaning

The awakening at each dawn

The people places and memories

The emotions and the songs

The love and hate felt on the way

Hope, despair, virtue and sin

In the end only happy are they

Who await a new journey to begin

The glorious note of music

The brush’s stroke sublime

The nobility of human love

And all that is divine

Speak to us of the souls

In patterns we daily see

Of those who went with grace and honor

To their newest destiny


A Friends Response
- Bappa Dasgupta

As I read your poems
Rare though they be,
Each has slowly borne a growing tear
As the depth of your wisdom unfurls,
From the Start to The End

Edited and Scripted by Gautam Sengupta.
Script Copyright Dragnetkgp Yahoogroups.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Reality and Zen Buddhism: A Lay Perspective.

[Draft form, under Editing]

The basic issue in all mystic contemplation of our existence is the premise that

our mundane reality arising from our perception of the world is an illusion. It has a
dreamlike quality when viewed through the proper perspective of the truth that
indeed at every moment it is changing. Even we are changing to the effect that even in
our everyday reality there is nothing fixed or permamnent that may be defined as "we". The illusion is precisely that of an unchanging "I" or "myself". In fact there is really no unchanging "I", at best an "I" or "myself" is actualy a process which is intricately linked to the ambient existential conditions each one of us is exposed to. Neither "we" nor the conditions are "permanent".

Yet if there is no real basis to our familiar mundane reality then what is "true reality".
Most mystic world views tend to describe this true reality as completely incomprehensible
from our usual perspective. But the mystic perspective of Zen Buddhism, which originates
from the Mahayana School of Buddhist philosophy, differs in this contention. Zen Buddhism
which rejects the trappings of philosophy and the confusing thicket of concept, words, faith
dogma or scriptural knowledge relies on direct pointing at the heart of existence. Zen bases
itself on an experiential comprehension of true reality through intense contemplation and an
infinitely alert awareness of existence to intuit the essence of true reality.

Zen asserts that the great secret of true reality has never been hidden at all and far from being incomprehensible, is continualy manifested in every blade of grass and every turn of the breeze. Entire creation manifests the secret of true reality at every moment yet we do not posess the fine awareness to penetrate the mists of our delusion and directly perceive it. It is because we lack true awareness of the simplicity and directness of this truth. But Zen does not stop there but points directly at our own existential experience to distill the essence of true reality in our everyday
language. Zen Buddhism unhestitatingly asserts that we have all experienced the dazzling radiance of the shining jewel of true existential reality unknowingly many times.
Either in a moving poetry a haiku, Tanka or a Waka, in the startlingly bold brushtroke of a haiga or in the bright lights of an impressionist painting,
in the exhilaration of the spring wind, in sunbeams split by the
water, a glorious sunset, in the growing darkness of a rain cloud,
in the flowing beauty of a river, in the clear limpid eyes of a child, in the
exceptional beauty of a woman, in a moment of calm and peace with our
family, in some beautiful aspect of nature, in a moving piece of
music, in the scent of a flower or the light of a glorious moon, in
the throbbing hearbeats of our first love and many more times.

Some of these openings are brief and fleeting and others far deeper and enduring. We have felt such experience strangely tug at our heartstrings and our emotions and we have come away with a strange sense of happiness and an inexplicable bewilderness unable
to explain or conceptualize the experience. A moment of pure beauty is without
thought or conception. At that instant there is only pure experience
and awareness. The conceptualization and the framework of thoughts
follows afterwords. And in most cases the conceptualization destroys the spontaenity of
of the experience. Yet in many such instances we are unable to explain
our strange joy. Something left unspoken and unthought. Such fleeting moments of awareness
is what Zen points to and asks us to probe deeper.

Zen states that these insights actualy provides us a glimpse of that radiant suchness of true reality. Such experiences arise from that source. Our analytical mind dissolves in that instant. That suchness is the source of all creative impulse. Depending on the sensitivity and
state of the mind these experiences could go deeper and be more intense. They are called *kensho* in Zen. They are short lived but deep. Often it goes deeper in meditation or in contemplation and such deep insights of a far longer duration are called *Samadhi* or *Satori* in Zen.

Such experiences may even happen to ordinary people in moments of great happiness or
great stress when the usual conceptual ordinary mind is frozen and
unable to function. It is then that sometimes one achieves a deep
experience of that radiance. I call it radiance but its not simply
physical light but the light of true understanding. It can also happen
when one is exceptionaly calm and contemplative.

Imagine progressively deeper versions of these insights
of increasing intensity, a thousandfold, tenthousand fold, million
fold and yet it would not equal the the radiance of the true and
undifferentiated primordial reality. Nameless, faceless unqualifiable
beyond all thoughts and actions, not conceptualizable. Tibetans call it
*Rigpa* and liken it to the calm moonlit surface of an
ocean undisturbed by the winds of thought. All creation are like waves
which rise from the sea and dissapears back into it. Karma is likened
to the wind which bring forth the waves.

This is what is true reality as set forth by the core of almost all religions
starting from the pagan parctices, african mysticism, the primitive religion of american and south american indians to organized major world religions. It is enmeshed in
mystery and incomprehensibility to ordinary individuals. Yet Zen asserts that all of us have had glimpses of it. Unknowingly for an instant but the framework of the conceptualizing
ordinary everyday mind a product of Karma forced us back into
delusion. Some have these have been deeper than others depending on the state of
the minds its clariy and receptivity to that experience. Masters are able to continualy abide in the clear state of the true reality. Its not that the world ceases to exist in such a state
it does exist but with a completely different perspective and

One must remember that the great Hindu sage Sri Ramakrishna had his first Samadhi at a very young age when he saw a flight of cranes across the darkened sky of
impending monsoon. Nature is a great teacher and if one is aware and
alert such magical moments abound and may be deeply experienced. But
we are pre occupied all the time to be aware. Samsara our everday life forces all of us
deeper and deeper into the arms of the illusion of Maya. Hiding from us the true
radiance yet it shines forth everywhere blazingly but we are unable to
perceive it in our confusion and delusion.

Tibetan Buddhism says that the clear light or the rigpa rises just
after the blackness of our final extinction and death but unless it is
practised in life it passes by the mind conciousness which is confused
and perturbed with Karmic impressions. It fails to recognize the
*clear light* and the Karmic impressions forces the consciousness
stream to evolve into one more Samsaric existence through a linked
chain of cause and effect called *dependent origination*. An infinite
repetitive cycle, the wheel of Samsara called *Kalchakra* the wheel of life.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Death at Noontime

The thundersquall broke suddenly just past noontime. The wild wind roared and lifted and spun the dry summer dust into a dark cloud. Then it settled into a steady moan interspersed with fierce bursts which shook the huge trees into submission and scattered their leaves and fruits. The green mangoes were stripped from their perch high up and thrown around by the periodic ferocity of the wild wind. It was an expression of anguish and frustration of nature. At that moment I knew that she was gone. The phone rang then.

It was twenty days that the lively and smiling young wife of my colleague was fighting for her life at the hospital after the delivery of twin boys. We had heard last night of the dreaded word "septicimea" a condition of internal infection that precludes a poisoning of the blood. Something even modern medicine finds hard to handle. She was critical last night but recovered. But this morning she lapsed into criticality again. I took the phone call and i could guess that it was all over. She had lost the fight to live. And amazingly the squall subsided and disappeared and it was sunny once again. What was it I wondered. Of course I rationalised that thundersqualls are always expected during the height of the north indian summers. Yet there was something strange about it. The suddeness and short span over which it stayed were uncharacteristic.

The rush to the hospital was painfuly slow but somehow we arrived. My first heart wrenching impression as I entered the ICU was an image which burnt into my mind. That of someone exhausted after a long drawn out battle and sleeping in peace. She was a lively soul in our lane and was a simple girl from a backwaters Bengal village. Always smiling, simple and full of life. My colleague too was an unassuming simple but and thoughtful individual who worked hard. They had a small daughter of 5 years. In all a lovely family with hopes and aspirations of a sweet, beautiful and a long future. They were both young with a lot of life to live for. That beautiful picture of a glowing future darkened in an instant to dismal grey with three orphans with twins just 20 days old and a small child of 5 who was
unable to grasp the sheer enormity of her tragedy. My heart ached with a
numbing sorrow to witness such complete suffering. This was LIFE a thin fabric streched between chaos and order that can break at any instant. And yet how we cling to it unknowingly in the utter ilusion of permanence.

It was time to bring her home for one last time. How she had wished to live . The
previous night she had held my wifes hand and asked her if she would ever return
home. It was a heart rending experience to witness the collective grief. Everyone liked her simplicity and liveliness. Evening found us in the local place for cremation by the holy river of Ganges ( Ganga). The great river rising out of the distant glaciers in the Himalayas now flowing placid through the vast north indian
planes. The place for cremation was deserted except for the staff. They looked unkempt but were reasonably efficient to prepare a wood pyre for the cremation.
The rituals for the dead were completed and soon we had to place her on the pyre. Soon the flames leapt up and one more story of life had ended.

A strong wind was blowing across the river and soon the pyre was blazing up
from its dark within of cinders and ashes. Growing darkness by the flat sandy banks of the river as the light from the now roaring flames played on our dark faces, all come to share her last journey. It is said that Buddhism is best
experienced under the light of a funeral pyre. The celebrated Japanese Master
Dogen Kigen Zenji was moved to Buddhism at the young age of 5 under the light of his Mothers funeral pyre. Later he became the exponent of Zen Buddhism in Japan founding the Soto and the Rinzai traditions and leaving behind a legacy of the highest level of Japanese Poetry and Buddhist art and culture and a huge
body of Buddhist insight which een now are said to be the heart of Zen the "sudden path".

The place for cremation was silent and bathed in the half darkness and shadows
streching across the huge courtyard with a temple. It is here that one needs the divine. Down below on the river bank the funeral pyre blazed and the flames danced bewitched by the strong wind. All of us were numb with sorrow for the young life. The husband now momentarily composed and resigned to the unfolding tragedy almost like a mute witness to the power of fate. The staff tells us that it will be at least a hour more for the body to be incinerated completely. More wood is added and the flames
leap up again against the backdrop of the stark darkness that slowly settles on the

After an hour we are called back to the river banks. It seems that another quarter of an hour should complete the process. We stand beside the still burning pyre as the river flows on down the vast planes to the sea. The blaze is low now and the wind scatters the embers glowing like fireflies in teh dark. Seemingly most of the body is now burnt out. Little sign of the smiling 28 year old now whom I saw almsot everyday
walking past our house, calling out a greeting to my wife or stopping for a few moments of conversation. Full of life and the promise of a secure and beautiful future. Now its all in the past and the only reality is the low burning pyre.

One of the staff asks me to move away from close to the pyre. I sense his urgency
and step back. He states in the local dialect " Dont go so close sir, the body is still not burnt completely and there are strong unfulfilled desires around. You'll will not understand this. But we who wrk and stay here in this place for cremation know it only too well and this was a very young life." I am reminded of the words of the Tathagata and his exposition regarding the nature of desire ( trishna) and attachments. Her attachments to her new born babies her daughter her husband
and her jest and will to live. What happens to these. In the Tibetan Book of the Dead
of the Vajrayana tardition of Buddhism indeed such unfulfilled desires affects the afterlife in the bardo which is described as the gap between a death and the becoming ( bhava) into another life in the six realms and thirty one planes of existence in which the conciousness stream can actualize into another life based on
the Karma. In the Lotus Sutra which is described as the peak of Buddhist thought
all of existence called Samsara is likened to a burning house fanned by the unquenchable flames of our desires.

Soon the fire burns even lower, its now mostly embers and the huge funeral pyre now burnt down flat. The staff now asks us to pour water to quench the fire. No trace remains of the young woman anymore except in memories and the smoke which is whisked away by the strong wind. This was the end in the growing darkness by the river in a place far away from her home surrounded by family friends and strangers.
How to understand this tragedy and make sense of it in the overall context of life. Nothing that we have learnt ever prepares us for the experience of Death. All the friends in the last journey must pour water in a symbolic act to quench the glowing embers and bring peace by dousing the fires of unfulfilled desires. The embers are
now quenched and all is silent in the darkness by the river except for the chanting of the priest that cuts through the sound of the strong wind which moans over the river.
We return slowly not looking back and yet another chapter in the vast book of life

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kathy's Song: Spring Rain.

The scorching North Indian Summer is already here. The early days of Spring
when the last cool touch of the departing winter was still upon the breeze are
already over. Now the fierce sun has burnt out all the tender feelings of the
start of spring and I face again the stark reality of my life bared by the harsh summer sun. Yet it was wonderful to just float in those tender and soft moments of a strangely beautiful fantasy brought on by the softness of the beginning spring. For many years now that the ruthless and unforgiving demands of a life had stifled all these wonderful
feelings. Yet strange are emotions, they never die even with neglect, pain, suffering,
struggles, desperations, anguish, despair and agony. They remain muted and silent
just to find that right moment of clarity in the chaos and darkness. When suddenly a
a clear light of a beautiful dream lights up ones world.

Yet one knew with ones instincts that suffering and pain are always part of the light of true beauty. The ever undulating coils of pain and suffering lay hidden in the beautiful unreal dream. They were sure to follow and of course they did. Waves and waves of pain and loneliness swamped my mind interpersed with moments of unworldly radiance. It was a silent dream of a beautiful fantasy and it played out its
bittersweet contents. It was an impossible dream of a sweetness that would never come to pass. Yet the tender, soft and wonderful moment it inspired were precious.
The moments of the unreal light burnt into my mind.

And now its all over, the scorching sun a reminder of life and reality like the
bittersweet morning after a pleasant dream which one hopes would never arrive.
But its the universal law that the morning always arrives. Who can escape it.
The pain and loneliness knots into my mind numbed by an undefined sorrow.
Yet all around all I could see was pleasant yet hidden in all that pleasantness is
an unearthly loss. How does one define the agony of losing a beautiful dream. Yet
dont we all know that dreams are just dreams and one always loses them with the
morning sun. Yet I am wistful and pining for what I realy did not know. All my mind knew was the lingering traces of a already half forgotten beauty of an unworldly light.
My pain dissolved in "Kathy's Song", the old wistful English folk song pining for Kathy
with her softly glowing light...............

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.

My mind's distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you're asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

And as a song I was writing is left undone
I don't know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can't believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I.

And then the summer skies melted last night into soft spring rains washing away
my agonies. Like the compassion of the Buddha Avalokiteswara, the one who looked down in compassion and tears at the suffering of all existence, Samsara. Entwined
in the illusion of Maya we all are tetherd in the glittering jewel net of Indra (Indra-Jaal). From his tears was born the Buddha Maitreya the future Buddha now residing in the heavens of Tushita and will arrive to share the pain of Samsara.
The wind was wild as the spring rains cooled down the scorched earth and just
as in the song it was the memory of the radiance of the dream as I looked upon
the rain drenched streets. My pain dissolved and the wind was free again to roam like the inspiring breath of creation over all of eternity. Forever free.